Friday, May 13, 2011

Highlighting group work

As a friend of mine once eloquently put, "group efforts are best left to wolf packs."

In college, the professors like to push for group work. They know that employers don't like the way many of these generation Y kids don't "play well with others." When students complain, professors point out that we WOULD have to be able to work in a group in the work world. There are some problems with this, though.

In the work world, the work is done at work.

In the work world, many people have families (like spouse and kids, not mommy) so co-workers have grown out of the childish "I'll start it at 11pm the night before it's due," crap that college kids pull. (Then they wonnnnder why they have a 2 point something GPA.)

In the work world, someone is in charge. Whereas, at school, even if a team agrees to put you in charge, you have no authority.

The the work world, that is your only focus when you are there. Excessive socializing is usually not tolerated, either. Slackers are found out and the boss remembers. At school, the semester ends and the coattail riders move on to another A student next semester. The professors are also changing.

Finally, if you DO get stuck with all the work, it shouldn't matter since you're there TO WORK. Whereas with school, you manage your time. Doing all the work is actually MORE work, since you have to keep Emailing the other students who still don't approve or deny what you did. Hey, it's 5 days not even 5 hours before the thing is due, why do you have a bug up your @$$?


  1. Professors hate hate group work too, especially in intro classes. When it works well it is beautiful, but otherwise it is horrible for everyone. Nowadays at many colleges, the course curriculum and depending on the course, the course assignments are dictated by the curriculum designer or some other department initiative. So professors don't always get to pick this assignment, it's given in the course.

    Profs generally will figure out who the slackers are. The problem is that generally groups are assigned early in the course before any significant assignments are due. So slackers get placed into groups before they are found out. In classes I teach where I've had students previously, I've been known to create a slacker team...and boy are those students mad about that!

    I never penalize the rest of the team. I tell them to submit without that missing person's work. If the student wakes up, well they can't say they would have done their part of the assignment but the rest of the team beat them to it. Hey, it's still available for ver late credit :)

  2. At my school, the professors push group work. I hate it because I'm a good student and I'm always stuck with more than my fair share. In the class that drove me to write this post, I have to write a 10 page paper with my group. The other members are three Syrian Jewish guys and my Italian-American friend I knew from another class. Two of the three Syrian Jewish guys are trying to do NOTHING. It's more work to try to light fires under their asses than it would be for me to write the paper. Even the other Syrian guy rolls his eyes about the prospect of them actually doing something.

    Funny thing, my female friend in the group said one time, "Jee sus help us..." I told her, "fat chance of that since you're the only non-Jew in the group." She thought that was funny.

  3. And as you can guess, I'm the oldest in the group and I have the highest GPA.

  4. So how's the class going now? Did you finish up the 10 pg paper?

  5. We have BARELY even started! I just texted the two bums in fire lighting attempt. One said he was going to put some notes up and that he's working on them now. :-/